Jules E. Mastbaum

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Jules Ephraim Mastbaum (July 7, 1872 – December 8, 1926) was a Philadelphia movie theater magnate and philanthropist. He donated the Rodin Museum and its collection to the city of Philadelphia.[1] His daughter, Peggy Solomon, was a bridge champion.

Jules E. Mastbaum
Jules E. Mastbaum, President, Stanley Co. of America (cropped).jpg
Jules Ephraim Mastbaum

July 7, 1872
DiedDecember 8, 1926 (age 54)
EducationB.A. University of Pennsylvania
OccupationMovie theater owner
Spouse(s)Etta Wedell Mastbaum
ChildrenPeggy Solomon
Parent(s)Fannie Ephraim Mastbaum
Levi Mastbaum
FamilyRichard Gimbel (nephew)
Benjamin M. Golder (son-in-law)
Charles J. Solomon (son-in-law)


Mastbaum was born to a Jewish family in Philadelphia in 1872, the son of Fannie (née Ephraim) and Levi Mastbaum.[1] He had one brother, Stanley V. Mastbaum; and two sisters who both married sons of Adam Gimbel, the founder of Gimbels department store, Minnie Mastbaum Gimbel (married to Ellis A. Gimbel Sr.); and Julia Mastbaum Gimbel (married to Louis Stanley Gimbel).[2][3] He attended public schools and the Central Manual School, earning a scholarship to the University of Pennsylvania, where he graduated with a degree in Finance.[1] After school, he took a job as a clerk at the Gimbels Department Store in Danville, Illinois, after which he was transferred to their Milwaukee store and then to their Philadelphia store where he became Gimbels' European representative earning $7,500 per annum, then Gimbel's highest salary.[1]

Mastbaum began investing in real estate by purchasing Felix Isman's portfolio with his brother Stanley and Alfred W. Fleisher as partners forming the firm Mastbaum Brothers and Fleisher.[1] He opened the first nickelodeon in Philadelphia at an empty storefront at 8th and Market and he then went on to purchase the Regent Theatre in 1911.[1] He successively began to purchase more theatres with his company Motion Picture Company of America which he changed to Central Market Street Company and then Stanley Company of America in honor of his brother who died in 1918.[1] In 1918, the company operated thirty-four theatres; in May 1926, an $80,000,000 merger added two hundred and twenty-five theatres to his chain and the Stanley Company of America became the largest theatre chain in the world.[1]

After his death in 1926, his wife assumed control of Stanley Company of America.[4]

Personal lifeEdit

Maustbaum was married to Etta Wedell Mastbaum, the daughter of Rachel P. Lit who founded the original store that became Lit Brothers; they had three daughters: Louisette "Billie" Mastbaum Wolf Dickson, Margery "Peggy" Mastbaum Solomon, and Elizabeth Mastbaum.[4][5][6]



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "Jules E. Mastbaum, Phila. Jewish Leader and Philanthropist, Dies at 54". Jewish Telegraph Agency. December 9, 1926.
  2. ^ "Louis Gimbel, Founder of Department Store, Dies". Jewish Telegraph Agency. January 5, 1930.
  3. ^ Pfeffer, Jacob (September 12, 1932). "Ellis A. Gimbel". Distinguished Jews of America: A Collection of Biographical Sketches of Jews Who Have Made Their Mark in Business, the Professions, Politics, Science, Etc. Volume 1: 153.
  4. ^ a b Rego, David Alan. "Etta Wedell Mastbaum 1886–1953". Jewish Women's Archive.
  5. ^ "Mrs. Louise Mastbaum Wins French Divorce". The Evening News from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. March 23, 1929. The Seine court today granted a" divorce to Mrs. Louise Mastbaum Wolf from Elias Wolf on ground of desertion. They were married in Philadelphia May 20, 1926
  6. ^ "Famous Sportsman Missing". Philadelphia Inquirer. July 25, 1943. Captain Jefferson Davis Dickson, internationally known sports promoter who yesterday was reported missing in action in the European war zone, is shown with his wife, the former Louisette Mastbaum, daughter of the late Philadelphia theater magnate, at the time of their marriage in Greenwich, Conn., in 1939